Pesticide Emergency Exemption Process Revisions
On January 27, 2006, EPA published a final rule that revises the regulations governing emergency exemptions that allow unregistered uses of pesticides to address emergency pest conditions for a limited time. These emergency exemptions are authorized by Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). After March 28, 2006, applicants for emergency exemptions must use the new methods and approach described in the final rule.
Purpose of rulemaking
Aided by considerable stakeholder involvement, EPA identified opportunities to streamline and improve the pesticide emergency exemption process. The intent of these revisions is to
- reduce the burden to both applicants and EPA,
- allow for potentially quicker emergency responses by the Agency,
- provide for consistent determinations of "significant economic loss" as the basis for an emergency, and
- update and clarify the regulations to be consistent with the requirements of FQPA and incorporate minor administrative improvements identified since the rule was last modified.
All of these improvements can be accomplished without compromising protections for human health and the environment.
Changes to emergency exemption process
The rule makes two primary revisions to the application, review and approval process for specific exemptions (40 CFR 166.2(a)(1)):
- Streamlined recertification application: For
eligible repeat emergency exemption requests, the revised regulations
allow states to submit an abbreviated "re-certification" request. This
"re-certification" request cites previously submitted and reviewed data
to support their response to an on-going emergency pest problem. These
streamlined requests should reduce the burden on states and facilitate
efficient processing of emergency requests by EPA for eligible uses.
- Redefinition of significant economic loss and revision of data requirements for documenting loss: A new, tiered approach allows an applicant to demonstrate the obvious emergencies more easily, while minimizing data requirements. The thresholds in the tiered approach provide clear, uniform standards to determine the significance of anticipated economic losses, rather than the previous approach of comparing revenues under the emergency to historical variations in revenues for the particular crop and region. Applicants may often submit less economic information to document a significant economic loss under the new approach. EPA's analysis of previous applications using the new economic approach shows that approximately the same number of requests would qualify for a significant economic loss.
Protections for human health and the environment maintained
This final rule does not compromise or alter existing protections for human health and the environment, since the risk evaluation process and requirements in this regard remain unchanged.
Parties affected by this rule
State and federal agencies involved in regulating pesticides and pest management are directly affected. Growers, commodity groups, and extension agents are also key stakeholders that may be interested in the rulemaking.
Effective date and options for applicants
The final rule is effective on March 28, 2006, which is 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Applicants submitting exemption requests that are received by the Agency after publication of the final rule, but before the effective date, will have the option of using the revised approaches for re-certification or documenting a significant economic loss, or using the previous application method and approach. After March 28, 2006, applicants must use the new methods and approach.
EPA kickoff of final rule and new process
- Outreach to stakeholder groups: EPA plans to address several groups to help inform primary stakeholders and the public of the final rule and its effects. These groups include the State FIFRA Issues Research and Evaluation Group, the Association of American Pesticide Control Officials, and the Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee.
- Training workshops: The Agency plans to hold workshops in several locations around the country to train applicants (primarily state agencies) on this final rule.
- Conference calls may be held to supplement the workshops.
- Staff assistance: EPA staff are available in the Emergency Response Team at (703) 308-8179 to assist applicants and answer their questions.
For more information about emergency exemptions and how this rule was developed visit the following Web sites:
- FIFRA Section 18 Emergency Exemptions - provides information about EPA's pesticide emergency exemption program and includes a searchable database of past exemption requests.
- Regulations.gov - provides
background information on the development of this final rule under
Docket ID Number EPA-HQ-OPP-2004-0038. Go to regulations.gov , click on
"Advanced Search," then "Docket Search," enter Docket ID Number
EPA-HQ-OPP-2004-0038 for this rule and click the "Submit" button".
Follow the instructions on the regulations.gov web site to view the
index for the docket and access available documents.
- Documents available in the docket include the proposed rule, public comments received and Agency responses, other support documents, and the final rule.
- The docket for the Federal Register Notice that announced the pilot to test the two main provisions of the rule may be found in Regulations.gov using Docket ID Number EPA-HQ-OPP-2002-0231.